Gilbert district fights combative student - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Gilbert district fights combative student

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Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 9:45 am | Updated: 2:24 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The Gilbert Unified School District is seeking a temporary restraining order to keep a "dangerous and disruptive" Desert Ridge High School special-needs student off campus, court records state.

But Jerri Katzerman, an attorney for the Center for Disability Law, said Tuesday the allegations against the 16-year-old student are unfounded, though she could not elaborate on the case.

"The family is very disappointed about this aggressive response from the school district regarding their child," she said. "And we hope to have this matter resolved in our favor in the near future."

The names of the boy and his parents were not released.

The district’s complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, says the boy hit teachers and students 83 times last year.

Incidents cited in the complaint include striking a teacher in her left eye with a closed fist as she tried to restrain him, repeatedly knocking a speech pathologist against the wall to avoid learning activities, biting an assistant and throwing chairs.

The complaint said he also affected other students: Poking female students in the stomach and causing three autistic students in his class to become angry, worried or unable to concentrate.

"As the pleadings explain, we’re looking to protect the child himself, and we’re also looking to protect and foster the education of other children in the class as well as the staff," school district attorney David Schwartz said Tuesday.

The issue ended up in court because the boy’s parents appealed to the Arizona Department of Education after the district decided in May that the boy be should placed in a private school. Federal law prohibits the district from moving the student to another school — unless there is a court decision — before the parent’s appeal is complete. The appeal could take a year, and the

district doesn’t want to wait.

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